History, Heritage, and Hate: The Fate of Confederate Monuments in my Ancestral Home

Nathan Bedford Forrest Memorial, Rome, GA

Last week, a statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was taken down by city commissioners in Rome, Georgia. The monument, erected in 1909 by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, had stood in Myrtle Grove Cemetery since 1952, where it had been relocated from a busy intersection to ease traffic congestion. Forrest, widely considered the most skillful cavalry officer in the Confederate army, was credited with saving the city from a Federal cavalry raid commanded by Colonel Abel D. Streight in 1863.

Besides being a fierce fighter and talented tactician, Forrest was a large slaveholder and slave trader, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and the man whose troops were responsible for the brutal execution of as many as 300 black US soldiers following the Union surrender of Fort Pillow. More than 400 Rome petitioners called for the monument’s removal, while a similar number argued for its preservation. The commission decided to preemptively remove the statue before it could be damaged by vandals or protesters.

The troubling legacy of the Forrest monument has particular resonance for me, as my family has deep roots in Rome and the surrounding area. My father grew up in nearby Calhoun and dozens of our kinfolks fought for the Confederacy. Our families were large slave owners and my great grandmother was an active member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Growing up, I was regaled with stories of my noble and brave Confederate ancestors, fighting for the cause of Southern independence. It was not until my father passed away in his fifties that I undertook the task of researching my family history. What I found surprised me.

Sprinkled in among various fire eaters and dutiful Confederates was the Wright family. Three Wright brothers were the wealthiest slaveholders in my family tree and staunch Union supporters. I wondered why I had never heard of them. Then I discovered that my third great grandpa Moses Wright had fled North to avoid serving a cause he did not believe in and died a refugee. His younger brother also fled and joined the Federal army, only to be killed by bushwhackers trying to make his way home after the war. The third brother, a former US congressman, bowed to peer pressure and reluctantly joined the rebels, serving in the Confederate Congress and sending six sons into rebel service. He later abandoned the Confederacy, meeting with Sherman and Lincoln in 1864 in a quixotic scheme to broker a separate peace for the state of Georgia. Clearly, some of my ancestors and many thousands of others belied the tired, inaccurate old adage of a “solid South.”

Confederate Memorial, Rome, GA 1887

Rome, like most large towns in the Deep South, lost the majority of her promising sons and fathers to our nation’s greatest tragedy. Monumental efforts to honor Rome’s wartime dead began in 1887, with the erection of a large marker topped with a funeral urn in Myrtle Hill Cemetery by the Ladies Memorial Association, who maintained the veterans’ section. It honored local Confederates who died “true to the traditions of their lineage” and “firm in conviction of their right,” and assured that “the principles for which they fought can never die.” These words read as a mourning tribute to fallen military men, but also signal a defeated South reasserting itself and starting down the path of fabricating new, more comforting memories of the war; an imagined past that denied slavery as the proximate cause of the sectional conflict, invented legacies of contented slaves and benevolent masters, and constructed a proud but false narrative of chivalrous warriors fighting for a just cause against overwhelming odds. Former Confederates dubbed this warped view of history “The Lost Cause.”

As the first generation of Rome area blacks who had never known slavery came to maturity at the turn of the century, communities throughout the former Confederacy began leveraging Lost Cause mythology as a way to not only inculcate future generations with their preferred narrative of the past, but also to remind blacks of their place in the racial and civic hierarchy in the post-Reconstruction era. They did this, in part, by erecting statues of leading Confederates in prominent public spaces. The messaging was expressed both symbolically by the towering martial monuments themselves and overtly in dedications and newspaper reports: restore the natural and moral order of white supremacy, justify disfranchisement and segregation. Jim Crow shall rule the land.

It is no coincidence that the vast majority of Confederate monuments erected in public spaces during the first quarter of the twentieth century directly coincided with an epidemic of lynching and other racial violence during that period. This is not to say that these monuments had no historical or memorial purposes. It is understandable that Rome, Georgia citizens would want to honor their dead and commemorate wartime important events; but symbols and words matter, especially when they reinforce racial hatred and limit the rights of free citizens. Time and again, these public monuments to a Lost Cause mythology did just that.

Dr. Adam Domby, in his deeply-researched and timely 2020 book, The False Cause, cites numerous examples of Confederate monuments as instruments and symbols of white supremacy and black oppression. When the statue of “Silent Sam” on the campus of the University of North Carolina was dedicated in 1913, keynote speaker Julian Carr left little doubt about its symbolic messaging. Speaking of the Confederate soldier, Carr insisted that “their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South” and “as a consequence, the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States—Praise God.” Four years earlier, the Rome chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, named after Forrest, decided to honor the Tennessee general with a life-sized image in Carrera marble, rather than salute one of their many hometown heroes.

Memphis had already erected a statue of Forrest in 1905. A speaker at that dedication lauded Forrest as “a gifted solider of the Lost Cause.” Former general George W. Gordon praised Forrest for his “brilliant battle for Southern freedom and independence, in what he esteemed and we still regard as an unavoidable and defensive war.” Gordon denied there was any wrongdoing at the Ft. Pillow massacre and absolved Forrest of any connections with the KKK by simply omitting that chapter from his resume. A third speaker praised Forrest and his soldiers by acknowledging that “they were of kindred blood and fought with the same Anglo Saxon valor.” Senator J.B. Turley summed up how many in the huge crowd felt about their deceased local luminary: “The principles of the cause for which Forrest fought are not dead, and they will live as long as there is a drop of Anglo-Saxon blood on the face of the earth.” Modern claims that Lost Cause memory has little to do with white supremacy need only read these dedications to understand that the connection was intimate and intentional.

The Atlanta Constitution featured the Rome dedication of the Forrest monument as their lead story on April 27, 1909, along with brief reports on other Confederate Memorial Day celebrations with the sub-headline “All Georgia Unites in Honoring Soldiers of ‘The Lost Cause’.” Governor-elect Joseph M. Brown was in attendance. Placement of the Rome statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the middle of the main downtown street was consistent with the practice of siting such monuments in prominent public spaces in towns and cities across the South. Such placements certainly served their primary purpose of honoring Confederate heroes, but they also celebrated white supremacy’s triumph over the social re-engineering attempted during Radical Reconstruction.

In 1909, Rome decided to replace the urn atop the 1887 memorial to their wartime dead with a large statue of a Confederate soldier. In 2017, a small group pulled the statue down, causing considerable damage. Perhaps the monument would have been less provocative had it retained the funeral urn, but this assault was beyond the pale. Cemeteries are sacred spaces where dead of all backgrounds should be respected. Forrest, on the other hand, has no business standing in a memorial garden among dead Romans. His association with violence against blacks with the KKK and at Ft. Pillow goes well beyond even the hackneyed “men of their times” defense of slavery and brands him, despite his martial deeds, as a despicable character in any day, unworthy of being immortalized in stone. It is good that Rome finally took him down.

Romans may honor their dead Confederates without lionizing either the real cause they fought for nor the bogus cause they invented in order to rewrite history and reimpose white racial dominance. Rome and Floyd County have plenty of accomplished citizens in their history. It is time they focused on those who did good work for all her citizens, not just the privileged white elite.


David T. Dixon is the author of more than a dozen published articles on Georgia’s Civil War history. His most recent book is Radical Warrior: August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2020).


Adam H. Domby, The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory (Univ. of Virginia Press, 2020).

Atlanta Constitution, 23, 24, 27 April 1909.

CoosaValleyNews.com, 29 January 2021.

Rome News-Tribune, 12 June, 8, 15 July 2020.

Forrest Monument Association, The Forrest Monument: Its History and Dedication. A Memorial in Art, Oratory and Literature (Memphis, 1905).

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57 Responses to History, Heritage, and Hate: The Fate of Confederate Monuments in my Ancestral Home

  1. John Pryor says:

    Dixon isn’t an historian; at best he is an editorial writer. His desire to show his purity in separating himself from the perceived sins of his roots is laughable, with his overblown rhetoric as heated as any Lost Causer. His need to throw the anomalous language of “white privilege” into an analysis of 19th century society is more than unfortunate. His viewpoint continues to be peculiar, as in his essay several weeks ago on some peripheral figures of the war, where he felt the need to scorn ” dead white generals”. You know, the fellows that largely won the war and ended slavery.

    • Chris Mackowski says:

      I disagree with your assessment of David. He’s a fine historian, as his two critically acclaimed biographies can attest.

  2. John Davis says:

    Well said roger Pryor!

    • John Pryor says:

      No, Cousin Roger came out of the same branch, but through a shared grandfather. I always found it hilarious that after turning down the ” privilege” of firing at Sumter, he migrated to Manhattan post war to feed his children!?

  3. Bob Huddleston says:

    Thank you, David, for an excellent historically-researched and fact-based essay on the complexities of Civil War history and the background of the Lost Cause impact on Confederate monuments. I do not know when I have read as clear an explanation of the meaning of these statues! And their impact on the local communities! What a fascinating discussion of their meaning in the 21st Century to the descendants of those who fought for the Confederacy!

    • David Dixon says:

      Thanks for your comments, Bob. This is a very emotional topic in the ACW community. Rome residents were split down the middle on the fate of the Forrest monument.

  4. Douglas Pauly says:

    “It is no coincidence that the vast majority of Confederate monuments erected in public spaces during the first quarter of the twentieth century directly coincided with an epidemic of lynching and other racial violence during that period.”

    It is also no ‘coincidence’ that the South was overwhelmingly controlled by the Democrat Party in those same years. Those who practice revisionist history always seem to ignore that. We’re always lectured that ‘white supremacists’ put the statues up, and while there is no doubt considerable truth in that, at least as far as the story of some of them go, it is always conveniently forgotten that those ‘white supremacists’ were the Democrats, and of course when that truth is acknowledged, we get the stories of how the voters of both parties literally, at some magic moment no one seems to know about, ‘switched parties’. The peace-loving, open minded, accepting Republicans traded their peacenik sweaters to the Democrats in exchange for those Democrats Klan robes! They actually teach that tripe in our schools!.While some, heck, maybe many, statues and markers had some purpose of trying to be part of the apparatus that was all about subjugating blacks, it is a historical fact that many of them were funded and erected by the very men who served under those ‘lionized’ on such markers. I also don’t discount the likelihood that at least some of them served the purpose of representing a great big middle finger directed at Washington, DC, a sentiment I can certainly relate to!

    • Dan says:

      No “tripe.” There really was a transition of white supremacists leaving the Democratic party for the Republican party. The south went from being solidly Democratic to solidly Republican. Read about the Dixiecrats and the later “southern strategy” that the Republicans came up with.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        The fact that the South did indeed swing from being Democrat to Republican had nothing to do with everyone involved suddenly and magically switching sides and thus adopting the same views in place. Things like the vaunted ‘Southern Strategy’ that had racial overtones is nothing other than politics as usual, then as now. The Great Society was sold as a means to address ‘Appalachian poverty’, but was really all about ensnaring blacks within the welfare system(s) that came with it. The complete destruction of the black family unit sure is testimony to how successful THAT was for the Dems! World War 2 and its aftermath had a considerable effect on the transformation of the South from Democrat to Republican, as did a general disdain in both parties for the Northeastern liberal political establishments. To say ‘everyone just switched sides’ doesn’t require any work, which is no doubt a big reason why spewing that is so attractive to those who do so.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Sorry Doug, but the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 were the final straws that broke the Democratic Party in the South. Each GOP President from Nixon to Trump, has used the Southern Strategy, to win votes. Bush’s campaign manager even apologized to the United States, for using it.

        WW 2 had a great effect on granting Afro-Americans the same rights as those of whites. Look at Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. Look at Truman de-segregating the Armed Forces.

        As far as the Great Society is concerned….The main goal was the total elimination of poverty and racial injustice. Do you think that was wrong?

    • Bob Ruth says:


      I suggest you study some basic political history before writing another post,

      LBJ predicted – correctly – that passage of the Civil Rights laws would result in the South one day becoming solidly Republican. And of course, there’s the well known (by everyone, it seems, but you Douglas) racial dog whistle Southern strategy of Richard Nixon.

      After the Civil Rights Acts and Nixon’s race baiting, all those white supremacists in the South felt betrayed by the Democratic Party. They are now devoted Republicans.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        I strongly suggest that you take your own advice here Bob. LBJ also said that blacks (and in true Democrat fashion he didn’t use that term but the usual denigrating epithets he was so famous for) would also be voting for his party for the next couple hundred years. There are lots of reasons why the South switched from being a Democrat stronghold to a Republican one. It had NOTHING to do with all involved magically switching sides on some sort of secret signal. For every Richard Nixon there was a George Wallace. I can play this game with you and others on here all night long if you so wish!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Bob is correct!!

        Starting in 1948 , when the Democratic Party endorsed Civil Rights for Afro-Americans, and when Truman de-segregated the Armed Forces, there has been a steady turn from the South voting DeMocrat to Republican. This conversion was sealed when the Democrats passed the Civil Rights and Voting Acts off 1964 and 1965.

        Just look at Strom Thurmond. He changed from a Democrat to a Republican.

    • Chris Mackowski says:

      Doug, there’s a lot of well-documented history to show that the parties basically switched “sides” on race issues and Civil Rights starting in the 60s. Today, it’s a common canard for Republicans to call out the Democrats for being the party of racism, but it was the 19th Century Democratic party, not the modern party. It’s a favorite diversion tactic that smacks of “holier than thou-ism” and is one of the greatest obstacles preventing the modern GOP from doing some necessary critical self-examination.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        The South ‘switching sides’ politically did not equate to Republicans picking up where the Democrats left off as far as them creating the Klan and implementing Jim Crow laws and the like. You can defend the Democrat Party all you want, but if they are the supposed champions of all things African American, maybe you can explain why the VERY SAME issues dog them now as they did a generation ago. I am not here advocating for the GOP, but I will ALWAYS point out the sins of the Democrat Party, then and now. Do tell, which party today practices nothing but ‘identity politics’? The Democrats are as racist and bigoted now as they have ever been. And the welfare programs they champion have done far more damage to blacks in particular than the Klan ever did, and that is saying quite a lot! ‘Holier than thou-ism’ indeed!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Actually, the Republican Party has picked up and continued racism against Afro-Americans. Recall that all GOP Presidential candidates have played the race card in the South, starting with Nixon and right through to Trump.

        If anything, recent studies have shown that, In practice, though, the diversion of funds away from cash support and toward programs meant to influence family formation has likely exacerbated racial differences in poverty.

      • John Foskett says:

        “And the welfare programs they champion have done far more damage to blacks in particular than the Klan ever did, and that is saying quite a lot!

        That’s a facially ridiculous statement which completely undermines your other points. I guess nooses, firebombings, and murders by night-riding terrorists are preferable to welfare payments.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Welfare has helped children as there are fewer children in poverty, and it has also encouraged and has entered more unmarried women into the formal workforce.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        John, you can hate the truth all you want, but the welfare programs and ‘Nanny State’ have literally eradicated the black family unit in this country. Even the Klan in their heyday couldn’t do that, but the ‘Great Society’ accomplished that in a matter of a few decades at most. The late (Democrat) Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan got beat up for pointing out that something like 23% of black births were to single mothers in the early 60s’, within a decade or so that would sky-rocket to 72% and higher. hate me all you want, the facts are what they are. We have those on here who will tell you the Great Society was a success. The GS was created to ELIMINATE poverty and racism. How has that worked out? .

      • John Foskett says:

        Douglas: I actually think you’re probably more reasonable than those statements make you appear. The Klan did just fine in trying to eliminate the “black family unit” with things like the 1963 Birmingham church bombing and the murder of those little girls. And that is “the truth” – like it or not.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        John, I agree with you on that. But, the Klan is, or at least was, there in the open for all to see. They didn’t hide their burning crosses. They didn’t conceal the nooses you mentioned. They didn’t cover up their open hatred for certain groups and people. We certainly agree on that.

        But the Great Society efforts had a more ominous impact on blacks. For starters, blacks bought INTO those efforts. LBJ targeted blacks especially for those programs and efforts, even though the GS was often ‘sold’ as a means to address Appalachian poverty specifically (I remember some of the TV news presentations on that when I was a kid). As horrific as the Klan was and remains, their impact on the disintegration of the black family unit as a whole was nothing compared to what the GS and other welfare environments have wrought. And speaking of LBJ, does anyone truly believe he had any empathy for blacks in particular? His language concerning them at times ( as in his frequent use of racial epithets) in his career speaks for itself. Like many politicians of both parties, then and now, blacks were just another item to factor into the political calculus. To believe that he had their best interests over that of the payoff to his party is the height of folly.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Let’s see now…the Klan murdered Black men and lynched Black men.

        The GS did neither.

        Pretty simple …the GS was a greater benefit to Blacks.

    • David Dixon says:

      I appreciate your comments and point-of-view, Douglas. I did not mention political parties past or present in my post. I do think we need to separate the opinions and motives of the common Confederate solider in wanting to honor the sacrifices of their comrades and military leaders from the clearly expressed motives of the many political and community leaders to use (or misuse) such monuments to push a false Lost Cause narrative and reinforce white supremacy. This is not 21st century revisionism, but simply a close reading of the primary sources. Read them yourself and see if monuments that some Confederate veterans intended as memorials and celebrations of heritage were not also constructed for quite different purposes. The leaders dedicating the statues themselves made those points crystal clear in many instances. A few of those quotations were cited in my post. Domby and other historians cite numerous examples in their work.

      • John Pryor says:

        There are often multiple speeches made citing different reasons for the erection of the statues. However, the fact remains that after over 100 years, in many cases, they are today merely statues not to a white supremacist ideology but to bravery, physical loss and death. Those who wish their removal are often those who are obsessed with their origins. Place up other statues, highlight the achievements of others. In France, there are numerous statues that were erected to extoll the Ancient Regime. Does anyone thing that people look back fondly on the tyranny of the Bourbons? Time will erase the last vestiges of the List Cause, monument demolition will merely cause it to fester.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Hi David. You might not have mentioned political parties in your missive, but it is indeed the Democrat Party of today that is driving this issue. They are the ones who have ignored legal avenues in their efforts to remove Confederate markers, and it is THEIR minions that are assailing historical markers that have nothing to do with the Confederacy. Turning loose mobs and thugs to destroy such items instead of going through the established processes for removing such is squarely on today’s Democrats, nobody else! We had them squawking that all such markers be placed in museums and battlefields, which seems like a fine thing to do. Then they turn their anarchists and others on them while the (Democrat) elected officials in the places those assaults are happening order their police to stand down. We also had the Democrats in Congress proposing legislation to remove ALL Confederate markers FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS, despite their agitation to have them removed TO them. So I’m not real receptive to being lectured about politics right now. TODAY’S politics is driving all of this, and it absolutely is ’21st Century revisionism’ playing out in much of it.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Americans are demanding that the statues to rebels and traitors be removed.

        The only place for a memorial for those who fought for the South, is a cemetery.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Doug, I don’t believe any Afro-Americans voted to spend money to those who enslaved those same Afro-Americans.

      And recall, that with he Civil Rights Legislation of 1964 and 1965, the South turned Republican. In fact, many GOP Presidential hopefuls did play the race -card, and openly campaigned in areas of the South to promote “States Rights”.

      GHW Bush played the race card and his campaign manager apologized for using it.

      Reagan, as part of his 1980 presidential campaign made an appearance at the Neshoba County Fair , a location (the fairgrounds were about 7 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town associated with the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, the Freedom Summer Riders, in 1964) was evidence of racial bias.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Your deflections are AGAIN noted Giant, but we’re not talking about what blacks paid for. Per your latest revision about the Civil Rights Act turning every Republican into a Klansman and wannabe slave owner, terms like ‘states rights’ had much, MUCH more to do with other issues than how blacks were treated. Help me here Giant, but I recall your beloved Democrats using ‘states rights’ SPECIFICALLY as a means to ‘deal with their blacks’ in those times. Interesting that your side recently resurrected that term to defend the mayhem and violence and anarchy and INSURRECTION that was common place throughout Democrat-run cities in 2020, simply because some were asking President Trump to send in Federal forces to quell all that. It would have been a hoot if President Trump had sent in Fed troops under the guise of defending the CIVIL RIGHTS of those citizens their local government had abandoned, ‘ya think? LOL.

        You can cherry-pick incidents involving those you oppose as being defined (by the usual suspects who do your thinking for you at that!) as ‘racist’. I can match you and raise you on that forever. As happened last year when that resulted in you openly begging the admin to delete my posts because you couldn’t refute them. You might want to do so again, I’m sure you’ll be obliged by them again!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Let’s agree on the history. Afro-Americans couldn’t vote in the South when those monuments were erected to traitors and those who enslaved them.

        Those Democrats left the Party, starting in 1948. And every Republican since Nixon, has used the race card in the South separate Americans.

        Recall that it was the GOP controlled Supreme Court in the 1870s, which watered down the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, that allowed those Jim Crow Laws to be passed. So, in reality, the Republicans abandoned the Afro-Americans. ..FACT

        Nice try, but I never ask anyone in the administration to delete your posts. Ask Chris.

        We call that a diversion.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Giant, I can post your call again where you demanded that my posts be removed. You did do in December. I’ve posted tat once before, I can do so again. I’ll be happy to refresh your memory. The only ones calling the Confederate veterans ‘traitors’ are you and the other handful who appear to act on the orders their masters at the DNC put forth. The Union army troops and officers at Appomattox didn’t see them as such. The country as a whole didn’t either. Now suddenly we get such pronouncements to justify the mayhem employed to remove the monuments by means other than peaceful and civil ones. That’s not my invention, that’s just simple fact.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, sorry but you are still barking up the wrong tree. Ask Chris is I ever sent him an e-mail asking that your comments be deleted. If you look, many comments were deleted, including mine.

        I’d look up the definition of a traitor. Here’s my definition: one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty. 2 : one who commits treason.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Giant, again, you can’t get away from your own dishonesty. I never, EVER, said that you sent an email to anyone. The FACT is that you made a POST on here asking that my posts be removed, and some of them were. Below is the actual email notification I received from ECW. It was sent on Dec. 18, 2020, at 12:14 PM. I’ll include the link but the comments were scrubbed per your whine. But you will see my observation that whining to the admin when you don’t get your way can be successful, which I posted on Dec. 20 after I discovered the removal of said comments. Also Giant, I will be happy to email you the actual post you made, and I can do that for anyone else who so desires that as well, seeing how you appear to have some pals on here and all that. Just let me know. I’m always glad to help!.

        New comment on Emerging Civil War

        nygiant1952 commented on “Stonewall Jackson is Down”.
        in response to Douglas Pauly:

        Geezz, your well known deflection attempts are allover the place here 9again), but I’ll play along. That ‘liberal wing’ of the GOP did not morph into a Marxist-fed mob that hijacked their party. If anything, modern conservatives champion the very ’causes’ those REAL liberals use to embrace. Those who brought firearms to Michigan’s statehouse did […]
        Sir, this is the last time I will respond to your postings. It’s been months since I wrote a comment on this blog, and Chris removed many political comments, his way of telling us to stop.

        If you continue, I will have to ask Chris to block your comments.



      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, please realize that both my and your comments were removed.

    • Raven says:

      LOL. Someone’s took a trip into Dinesh D’Souza’s plantation and was a good one. But you would have been a Dixiecrat circa 1910, so what are you whining about?

  5. Michael Bradley says:

    I did not see any mention of the role Forrest played in preventing the destruction of Rome since it was a target of Streight’s raid in 1863, That is the reason Forrest was honored by a statue in the town. I also note the unquestioned assumption that Forrest was the leader of the KKK despite a Congressional Committee having absolved Forrest of that charge while commending him for his opposition to the Klan.

    • Bob Ruth says:


      I suggest you read Mr. Dixon’s post more carefully. He mentioned prominently that Forrest saved Rome from being burned by Yankee raiders.

    • David Dixon says:

      Thanks for your comment, Michael. Forrest left his position as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan two years before he testified in Congress. He began calling for the various chapters to disband in 1869, but only after he had been an active leader for two years.

  6. Bill Vodra says:

    I respect his family’s history, of men making choices about on which side to fight, or send sons to fight. The South instituted the draft a year before the North, and doubtless men served because they were compelled to. Others volunteered not for the Cause, but to have an adventure, to escape from the farm, or to be with peers. At least, we know that motivated young men in many other wars, and there is no reason to think the rank and file in the Confederate armies were uniquely different. Once in an army, the private soldier follows orders. To imbue these young men with a pro-slavery ideology is presumptuous.

    • David Dixon says:

      Thanks for your reply, Bill. I agree with your sentiments completely about the common solider and I don’t believe i claimed otherwise in my post. The motives of the common Civil war solider North and South were quite distinct from the motives of the political leaders.

  7. Donald Smith says:

    “This is not to say that these monuments had no historical or memorial purposes. It is understandable that Rome, Georgia citizens would want to honor their dead and commemorate wartime important events; but symbols and words matter, especially when they reinforce racial hatred and limit the rights of free citizens.”

    So we are sure, 100 years later, that the primary reason for erecting these statues in the first place was not to honor fathers and sons and brothers who fought nobly, but instead to rub it in the faces of African-Americans?

    Many of these statues were erected around the 25th and 50th anniversaries of the Civil War. Gettysburg National Park historians—not known as KKK acolytes—pointed out, in one of their Civil War symposiums, that people tend to commemorate fallen comrades and relatives around the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their loss.

    It’s really disappointing to see Confederate statues interpreted in a negative light, time and time again, on these boards. There is another side to this argument, and I can’t wait to see ECW let it be aired.

    Confederate soldiers revered Lee and Jackson. From what I can tell, the average Confederate soldier was a decent person, worthy of respect. They respected Lee and Jackson, as well as other Confederate generals (Gordon? Cleburne?) that I’m missing here. Those soldiers, again decent people, after the war, erected and respected those statues. So, if those statues were good enough for the decent men who served under their command, then that should be a good enough reason for us to not simply dismiss Confederate statues as some grand KKK propaganda effort. It may make some of us feel good, even righteous, to dismiss those statues as nothing but KKK totem—but it’s not fair. And, adults should be fair.

    I thank Mr. Dixon for admitting that the “primary purpose” of these statues was “honoring Confederate heroes.” Those heroes don’t deserve to be consigned by SJWs and cancel culture warriors to the trash heap, because some racist jerks a hundred years ago co-opted the legacy of good men and used it for bad purposes—namely, Jim Crow. The racist jerks should not be allowed to be the visible legacy of the Confederacy. That legacy should be represented by honorable men like Lee, and Jackson, and Gordon, and Cleburne, and the thousands of soldier who willingly and valiantly followed them.

    • David Dixon says:

      Donald: Thanks for your comments. I admit that whites in the former Confederate states wanted to honor their former leaders as heroes, not that they were necessarily heroes in my own view. I believe cemetery markers and monuments honoring a community’s fallen soldiers (or in Rome’s case, another one honoring the sacrifices made by women on the home front) have a proper place in the memorial landscape, as I mentioned in my post. Most battlefield monuments, properly contextualized as learning aids, also deserve preservation. Museums can use monuments as teaching aides. Placing Forrest in the cemetery at Rome, in my opinion, dishonors a sacred public space and he has no business being there. I understand that many feel differently. I am glad to see the shift from vandalism and violence to public input and reasoned discussion. Rome approached their decision with much thought and public debate.

    • Donald Smith says:

      David, thank you for your thoughtful, focused and prompt reply. I can understand why people of all colors nowadays would object to a statue of Forrest in a public place. Perhaps, in some respects, he has been unfairly maligned. But his past is a checkered one, to put it mildly. I can understand why people who see Forrest as the symbol of Fort Pillow and the KKK wouldn’t want to see a statue of him in a public place.

      I can also understand a modern-day community wanting to have monuments that reflect its values, not the values (and heroes) of people who lived there a hundred years ago. I am sorry to see the Confederate statues leave Monument Avenue in Richmond, but I understand the reasoning behind the decision. The community that lives around them now is vastly different from the community that erected those statues.

      Each Confederate statue should be judged on its own merits—the person it honors and the venue in which it currently stands. For example, I think the removal of Stonewall Jackson’s statue from the VMI campus wasn’t the result of thoughtful debate and community input. It appears to have been a power play, which took advantage of the national turmoil this summer. The situations of that statue, and the Forrest statue in Rome, are two completely different things.

      A Confederate general or soldier shouldn’t be consigned to the trash heap simply because they were Confederates. And, the people who built those statues shouldn’t all be written off as racists. Some—many, I suspect, really did want to honor fallen family and men that they felt deserved respect. Those of us who, today, defend those statues shouldn’t be written off as apologists for racists either. You do none of these things in your article; thank you for that. And, thank you for a well-written contribution to this ongoing discussion.

  8. As a veteran I remind all here . in 1954 a great former General and now a President wrote a Executive Order (sound familiar to you libs) declaring Confederate Soldiers were considered to be American Veterans . Should be enough said ..
    I wager you who want these soldiers monuments torn down were never a soldier were you .? You will let others fight your battles ‘so long as you can get your own way, any way you can . . American veterans monuments should stand . Thank you President Eisenhower ..
    They will be those I know will say But they were traitors>>> Seems they think they know more about soldiers then General Eisenhower did . .
    I fought for my freedom and yours as well , Did you/ ?. Now please let me respect ,honor and enjoy it. Leave the monuments alone . Put up some your self’s if you wish . Seems ti is easier to destroy history ,then it is to honor and learn it. .

  9. nygiant1952 says:

    The claim that Confederate veterans maintain the same legal status as U.S. veterans is FALSE. Confederate veterans’ widows and children received pensions after congressional action, but that action in itself did not declare those soldiers to be full U.S. veterans. The very definition of a U.S. veteran never expanded to include Confederate soldiers –– even when they were granted amnesty by President Andrew Johnson.

    Executive orders do NOT have the same backing of Congress, as does a Law.

    FYI…Republican Presidents also issue Executive Orders…Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, as were many of the Executive orders that were issued by Trump.

    • ny giant
      first off is a football team duh . clearly you did not or would not under stand any thing i said . for it is your way or nothing . and people like you are what is destroying our country . answer this are you a veteran? .or a by stander ? . before you de grade all who serve and are serving some thing you would not do . yet you disgrace them . ill not waste my time with you any longer ..

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Tom, a few things….

        1. ny giant refers to my beloved baseball team, the New York Giants, who used to live at the corner of 155th. St and 8th Ave, in New York City….aka the Polo Grounds.

        2. There is absolutely no legislation that declared that anyone who fought for the Insurrectionists from 1861-1865,, a US military veteran.

        3 I prefer to discuss the facts.

        4. Last time I checked, we Liberals ended slavery in this country, we ended segregation in this country, gave women the right to vote, we got African-Americans the right to vote, we created Social Security which lifted our elderly citizens out of poverty, we created Medicare, , we ensured clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We passed the Civil Rights and Voting Acts of 1964 and 1965.The Liberal Democracies of the world defeated fascism. So, tell me, how is that destroying the country?

        5. What has being a veteran have to do with the forum?

  10. Pingback: Around the Web March 2021: Best of Civil War & Reconstruction Blogs and Social Media - The Reconstruction Era

  11. nygiant1952 says:

    Doug, This link will help you understand American History.


    This paragraph explains what yo are looking for:
    “Although the names stayed the same, the platforms of the two parties reversed each other in the mid-20th century, due in large part to white ‘Dixiecrats’ flight out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” she said. “By then, the Democratic Party had become the party of ‘reform,’ supporting a variety of ‘liberal’ causes, including civil rights, women’s rights, etc. whereas this had been the banner of the Republican Party in the nineteenth century.”

    • Douglas Pauly says:

      Seriously Giant? “Politifact”? C’mon. We know that the power structure in the South would EVENTUALLY swing in the GOP’s favor. We KNOW that. That took decades if not generations. It did not happen at the snap of someone’s fingers. But THAT is exactly why your Democrats created the Klan and implemented Jim Crow. Their efforts were to suppress potential Republican gains after the War ended. But the GOP did NOT pick up the mantle of supporting the KKK your party created. You have several posts above and on other threads that mention Strom Thurmond as supposed proof of something. Geezz, none other than Joe Biden spoke at Thurmond’s funeral, just like all those other Democrats did at Robert KKK Byrd’s, so your attempt at a point there remains fuzzy. Politicians switching parties happens all the time. Politics involving RACE has always been a reality, look at what the situation and the reality is today. But, by all means, keep trying. It’s fun to refute revisionist efforts.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Seriously Giant? “Politifact”? C’mon. We know that the power structure in the South would EVENTUALLY swing in the GOP’s favor. We KNOW that. That took decades if not generations. It did not happen at the snap of someone’s fingers. But THAT is exactly why your Democrats created the Klan and implemented Jim Crow. Their efforts were to suppress potential Republican gains after the War ended. But the GOP did NOT pick up the mantle of supporting the KKK your party created. You have several posts above and on other threads that mention Strom Thurmond as supposed proof of something. Geezz, none other than Joe Biden spoke at Thurmond’s funeral, just like all those other Democrats did at Robert KKK Byrd’s, so your attempt at a point there remains fuzzy. Politicians switching parties happens all the time. Politics involving RACE has always been a reality, look at what the situation and the reality is today. But, by all means, keep trying. It’s fun to refute revisionist efforts.

        Doug, you can have your own opinion, but you can’t have your own set of facts. There is no documentation that the Democrat Party created the clan. And there is no evidence that the republican Party created the Klan.

        This is what Biden said, by the way.“Our differences were profound,” Biden allowed of Thurmond that day, “but I came to understand that, as Archibald MacLeish wrote: ‘It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived: Life is lived for better or worse in life.’ ” In this age of ideologies, that teaching is sorely tested.

        Sorry to have to educate you on what really happened, and destroy your revisionism.

  12. Bill Vodra says:

    Douglas and NYgiant1952,

    May I respectfully request you take our argument elsewhere. You are not changing each other’s views, and merely shouting at each other. For those of us interested in substantive discussion about the Civil War, and in this care, about the fate of Confederate monuments, you are cluttering our inboxes with irrelevant noise. Thank you.

    • Nygiant1952 says:

      Bill, did Chris appoint you to police this site? If not, then I respectfully ask that you mind your own business. If you don’t want to read our comments, I suggest you not read them. The notifications I get indicate who is typing and who the comment is addressed to.

      If Chris asks us to stop, then I will.

      Have a nice day!

    • Taylor says:

      Thank you.

      • Taylor says:

        To be clear, I was replying to Bill Vodra..

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Taylor, Did Chris appoint you to police this chat room? If not, then I respectfully ask that you mind your own business.
        Since we are all notified who is making the comment, I suggest you just ignore any comments Doug and I make.
        No one is forcing you to read them. In this country, you have the freedom to pick and choose what you want to read.

  13. Mary Gordon says:

    Before and throughout the entire Civil War slaves, who were owned by Ulysses S. Grant’s wife Julia Dent, worked at Ulysses S. Grant’s White Haven home in Missouri, a Union slave state. I am against slavery. If the Civil War was started over the issue of slavery, why did President Lincoln choose Ulysses S. Grant to be his top general? Captain David Camden De Leon, a Jewish physician, was the first surgeon general of the Confederate States of America. I therefore find it strange that the CSA flag has become associated with that red flag with the black swastika in the middle. In 1862 General Grant issued Order No. 11 which ordered the expulsion of Jews living in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. As far as I know, General Robert E. Lee never ordered the expulsion of Jews living within the Confederacy and General Robert E. Lee’s slaves were freed in 1862. I do not know why some people associate statues of General Lee and the Confederate flag with antisemitism. Many Confederate soldiers were Jewish. I never hear about people protesting the presence of statues of General Grant because of his antisemitic Grant Order No. 11. A number of times in the past I have voted for African-American candidates at various Duval County Florida polling/voting sites. If I am/was a racist, why would I find myself voting for African-Americans? I am not a racist.

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